West Side Community Church, Traverse City, Michigan, www.tcwscc.cOm Mar 12, 2012; video.
1. You quoted from Malachi 3:8-11 which was only commanded to Old Covenant Israel as part of the whole law. Gentles and the Church never were under that covenant or its laws.
2. You said that the sermon was for “60% of his congregation who wants to learn.” I ask you to engage me in an in-depth discussion of this subject if YOU truly want to learn.
3. You said that “God says [to Christians] ‘You ought to be tithing.’” This is not true. God never commanded either Gentiles or the Church to tithe. The New Covenant teaches freewill, generous, sacrificial giving.
4. You said “Otherwise you are robbing him.” The HOLY tithe was always only FOOD from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel to support its Old Covenant Levites and priests. You, the modern pastor, are robbing God’s people by re-defining the biblical use of the word tithe to suit your own needs.
5. You said “You return your tithe – not pay or give.” The only persons in the Bible who qualified to “return a tithe” were food producers who lived on God’s HOLY land. While the whole earth was God’s, God only accepted tithes from His HOLY land. It is dishonest to do otherwise.
6. You act as if the Old Covenant promised a blessing for only tithing. This is error. According to Galatians 3:10 (Deut 27:26) Israel must observe the whole law in order to claim blessings from any part of it. This is confirmed in Mal 4:4 and Neh 10:29 to Malachi’s audience.
7. You conveniently re-define ”storehouse” in Mal 3:9 as barns in the communities and then the local church. Almost correct on point one. According to Neh 10:37-38 the first whole Levitical tithe did indeed go to the Levitical cites and not to the Temple; that is where 98% of the Levites and priests who needed it for food lived. They, in turn, brought about 2% to the Temple store-ROOMS which were far too small to hold the tithe of the nation. The church is NOT a storehouse or storeroom for tithes.
8. You referred to Deu 14:29 and somehow twisted God’s Word to make that refer to the local church. Shame. Whatever happened to context and hermeneutics? According to Num 18:21-28 and Neh 10:37-39 the Levites received the first whole Levitical tithe and they were only SERVANTS to the priests. How does that work out today? And why do you accept “tithes” and own property? What happened to the prohibition of tithe-recipients owning property?
9. You reminded us that God said “test me”
In Mal 3:10. But you conveniently forgot to point out that the tithes were still only FOOD in Mal 3:10 as also in Lev 27 and Mt 23:23. Why is that? Was not the WHOLE LAW a test per Deut 27:26 and Gal 3:10? Did God bless OT Israel for tithing if they broke the rest of the law? I think not. Agin whatever happened to context and hermeneutics?
10. You said that “tithe” means 10% -- and refers to income. That is dishonest. It never meant 10% of income in God’s Word. Money was very common even in Genesis but money was never a tithed item. Not even Jesus, Peter, and Paul qualified as tithe payers.
11. You said that “we are to return to God His tithe, the first 10%.” Wrong again. The tithe is never the same as a first-fruit or first ten per cent in God’s Word. The firstfruit was a very small token offering according to Deut 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-37a.
12. You mock non-tithers as charging God with being unreasonable. Yet you ignore First Timothy 5:8 and place a guilt trip on the poor who must choose between tithing and food and shelter for their family. Shame.
13. You have no concept of what it means to be in the presence of a holy God. You deliberately wear blue jeans with a hole in the knee and let your shirt hang out under a long-sleeve sweatshirt in front of a large crowd while preaching. Why? If this is all you have, I excuse and welcome you. However, if you have better to wear, then FOR THE SAKE OF GOD’S HOLINESS, wear it and show others that you respect the HOLINESS of God. I very seriously doubt that Jesus, Peter, Paul, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon or the other Bible saints would have approached God for serious worship wearing anything other than their best just to show respect.
In Christ’s love
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD